SkySafari

Common Sense Media says

Beautiful astronomy resource is rich with information.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Though the entry-level version is targeted to amateur astronomers, kids need to have a basic understanding of astronomy and how to adjust settings on the mobile device (like adjusting the compass) to fully utilize SkySafari.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

SkySafari uses GPS to set the current location, but this can be disabled. There's no privacy policy in the app or on the developer's website to explain what, if any, information is collected and how it would be used.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that SkySafari is a powerful mobile planetarium that uses GPS location to view the night sky. The app comes in three versions for Android: SkySafari ($2.99), SkySafari Plus ($14.99), and SkySafari Pro ($39.99); and six versions for iOS: SkySafari 3 ($2.99), SkySafari 3 Plus ($14.99), SkySafari 3 Pro ($39.99), SkySafari 4 ($.99) SkySafari 4 Plus ($7.99), and SkySafari 4 Pro ($19.99). The Plus and Pro versions add larger databases with more stars, telescope control, views from the solar system, and more features. The databases, even on the entry-level versions, are large, requiring up to 940 MB of free space depending on the platform.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • astronomy

Skills

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The beautiful images draw stargazers in. Kids control most of their own experience with the app, adding to the engagement factor.

Learning Approach

Kids are in the driver's seat for what they learn and how they discover it; motivated students will feel empowered to explore to their hearts' content. Info about our solar system and beyond is relevant and deep.

Support

Controls require some maturity to master, but the help information offers a quality explanation of terms and features.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • astronomy

Skills

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn about astronomy by viewing planets, stars, and celestial bodies; searching for specific objects of interest; or looking at noteworthy astronomical sightings in that night's sky. They can also read more about each astronomical body and term in the help section. Kids can get a detailed picture of the movement of objects in the sky over time by viewing movements by the year, month, day, hour, minute, or second for one hundred years into the past and future. SkySafari is a breathtakingly beautiful and amazingly rich resource for kids to learn about, see, and appreciate astronomy.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

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What's it about?

SKYSAFARI is a point-and-identify sky map that includes the major planets and moons; tens of thousands of stars; 220 of the best-known star clusters; and nebulae, galaxies, asteroids, comets, and more. Kids need to enable the compass on their device (which is on the bottom of the screen when the app is open) and point the device at the sky. They can also view the night sky for any time up to one hundred years in the past or future. Using the search function, kids can find specific objects in the night sky, guided by arrows showing them where to point the device.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

SkySafari makes it possible to view space from a small device kids can hold in their hands. The images come from NASA space missions, the Hubble Space Telescope, and astro-photographers -- and are beautiful. In addition to viewing the night sky -- past, present, and future -- kids can read details about each planet, galaxy, star, and object. A neat feature in the search function is "Tonight's Best," which lists the objects in the night sky that are best for viewing that evening.

SkySafari works wonderfully alongside a telescope, so kids familiar with viewing the night sky through a telescope will adapt easily to using SkySafari to its fullest capabilities. Kids who are interested in identifying constellations and stars can do that, but Mobile Observatory is easier to navigate.

Families can talk about...

  • Explore the universe together, making a plan of which sky objects you'll look for.

  • View the list of local astronomy events and attend one together.

  • If you live near a planetarium or an observatory, visit it together to learn more about our solar system.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Price:$2.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:January 3, 2013
Category:Education
Topics:Science and nature, Space and aliens
Size:54.00 MB
Publisher:Southern Stars
Version:1.7.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later; Android 2.2 and up

This review of SkySafari was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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